Welding Program Offers Hands-on Learning

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Sauk’s welding program began in 2006 and the program has come a long way. In 2011 SVCC built a new state-of-the-art welding lab area with 20 booths that uses welding, plasma cutting and carbon arc equipment. The welding program has expanded to include two fulltime instructors with three different welder certificate programs to choose from including Entry Level Welder, Advanced Welder and Pipe Welding Certificates. Each certificate can be completed quickly, in two semesters or less.

Welding students are trained in several processes: SMAW, GMAW and GTAW. The two fulltime instructors and several adjuncts all have an industry background, which gives our students an edge when applying for welding jobs. The welding booths are put to good use –Sauk offers both day and evening classes – making it easy for students to balance their busy schedules; class sizes are kept small to assure students will receive the individual attention they need, and classes are only
8 weeks long.

Welders are in demand here in our area and across the United States. Sauk can give its students the proper background for welding in large industrial, commercial or residential applications. Scott Gillihan has been with this program since its inception and says, “From the beginning it has always been our goal to provide the very best education for our students for a small amount of monetary input.”

Who is a Good Fit?

Every welder needs good hand-eye coordination. A mechanical aptitude is a plus, and basic math skills are always welcome.

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Student & Instructor success story

Sauk alumna and welding instructor: Roxanne Finneran

welding2Roxanne Finneran is a first year welding instructor at SVCC with a rich educational and employment background. Roxanne, always drawn to jobs that were more “hands-on,” first attained her degree in aircraft mechanics. She even completed her pilot’s license. But before she had an opportunity to use her mechanics degree, she moved to Morrison, IL , married and worked for the family business for many years. A mother of four daughters, Roxanne began taking classes at Sauk for fun when her children were a little older and fell in love with welding. “That was my ‘me’ time, you are always doing things for other people when you are a parent. I [took classes at Sauk] for me.”

Finding that she had a natural aptitude for welding, she continued to work on a welding certificate at Sauk while working as a welder in local industry. “There are lots of welding jobs out there”, she says. “I never had a problem finding a job.” According to Roxanne, having a diverse set of skills is really helpful too. “I can do lots of types of welding, stick, MIG, TIG welding.” She eventually completed her welding certificate at Sauk by taking many of her classes at night to work around her day job.

As fate had it, she was approached to teach the basic welding class, WLD 106, part-time at Sauk. As the Sauk welding program expanded to include pipe welding, another fulltime instructor was needed to work alongside Scott Gillihan, Sauk’s other fulltime welding instructor. Roxanne was hired as a fulltime instructor in 2013 and has been a great complement to Scott. Roxanne has really enjoyed teaching where she knew that she could make a difference by training a new generation of welders.

Welding students will spend their time in classroom lectures, but they also spend lots of time in Sauk’s new, state-of-the-art welding lab. “We give [students] a lot of one on one time [in the lab].” It is there that students really gain the skills to be employed as the next generation of welders.

Roxanne brings unique traits to Sauk. Certainly, being a woman in a male dominated industry is one of them. But she also exhibits many of the traits we see in our students at Sauk- the ability to complete a degree when working fulltime and raising a family and staying with it despite the hardships.

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